Hospital reaching out to improve care for nursing homes patients

People living in care and nursing homes across Lincoln are benefitting from a revolutionary service which is helping to keep them out of hospital.

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People living in care and nursing homes across Lincoln are benefitting from a revolutionary service which is helping to keep them out of hospital.

The Lincoln Care Home Service is a team of doctors, nurses and therapists from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust who is starting to visit every nursing and residential home in the Lincoln area over the next two years.

Results so far show that their work is reducing the number of people being admitted to hospital unnecessarily.  In the first three months since the team visited one care home in Lincoln, the number of hospital admissions for their residents reduced by 64% compared with the previous quarter.

The team assesses every resident of every home, including reviewing medications and assessments of cognition, mobility, mental capacity and future care needs. By the end of the period they aim to have  reviewed more than 1,000 people in 22 homes.

The service, which has been funded by the Bromhead Medical Charity, has even been nominated for a national Fab NHS Award by the Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff, in recognition of how it reaches out to the local community to improve care for a very vulnerable population group.

Occupational Therapist Graham Wilson said: “The work we do is about assessing the current condition of each resident, the care that they are being provided with and how that can be improved so that they do not end up in hospital unnecessarily.

“We have a nutritionist, occupational therapist, doctor, nurses and a physiotherapist as part of the team so that, together with the resident and their family, we can look at the whole picture and ask how each person can be best cared for where they are.

“Some of the cases we see are residents nearing the end of their life. We can work together to make sure they have the best possible care at the end of their life, in the right place for them.”

The team also provide staff training and education in the nursing and residential homes, around areas including end of life care, falls and delirium. This empowers the staff to provide better care for their residents.

The team is also building relationships with local GPs, who are often the first port of call for residents of nursing and residential homes. This means that the residents get a more joined-up care and should also relieve pressure on local GPs.

Consultant in Older People’s Service Dr Gill Garden said: “There is evidence that services such as this not only save money through avoiding hospital admissions and appropriate use of medicines, but that mortality rates are reduced and that satisfaction levels are higher.”

Comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) is a multidimensional and usually interdisciplinary diagnostic process designed to determine a frail older person’s medical conditions, mental health, functional capacity and social circumstance.

The Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff is a website showcasing and celebrating what NHS staff are doing at the front line, in the board rooms, the community and primary care.